Go Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
Good news! A new bus route linking Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang is now available since early 2012. This is the eighth road to cross the border between Thailand and Laos.
The trip takes 18 hours and costs 1,200 baht or about 40 U.S. dollars. When the fourth bridge over the Mekong River from Chiang Khong in Thailand to Huay Xai will be completed next year, a more luxurious service will replace this current one for 1500 baht.
This new route will boost tourism and economic exchanges between the two nations.
Specifically for budget travelers this new route will be more convenient and cost reasonably for visiting northern Thailand and Laos. It’s really exciting to be able to visit both the amazing north of Laos and the north of Thailand within a reasonable time. Formerly, it was difficult to take this route. Some travellers took a cruise on a slow boat on the Mekong to get there, but he had to have a visa before entering the Lao country.
It is now possible to browse the major destinations of Laos and Thailand in a single month of delightful discovery. It must be said that Laos has not yet opened its airports to budget carriers like Air Asia making expensive international air links. So this new journey will delight many who will enjoy the magnificent temples, trekking in the mountains through ethnic villages and breathtaking mountain scenery.
The news did not stop there because the Thai transport secretary Mr Silpachai announced that the proposed high-speed train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai has been approved by the Cabinet and is expected to be ready in 2017. This project will be studied for a year to choose the road to be built first. The roads are planned Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok-Hua Hin.
We should not celebrate too soon, because studies on environmental impacts could be long and vigorous. The trip across the entire country on the high-speed train will take 3 to 4 hours.
There are many projects to modernize public transport in this region, China is about to begin the construction of its high-speed train between Kunming city in the north and Laos. I have a whole article on this project and the Trans-Asian Railway ready for the next week. Until all its major projects are realized, take a bus from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang and enjoy the scenery before it urbanizes.